Thermoplastic composites are produced using thermoplastic polymers as matrix materials, which soften upon heating to elevated temperatures for processing, and harden upon cooling. High-performance thermoplastic polymers used for thermoplastic composites provide a number of benefits compared to traditional thermoset resins, such as epoxies, including higher service temperature capability, lower moisture uptake, improved toughness, and increased chemical resistance.
Thermoplastic composites can also be reheated and reformed, providing benefits for manufacturing processes such as thermoforming and various thermal fusion/welding/joining processes. Unlike thermoset materials, thermoplastic composites do not require a chemical reaction or “cure,” and can be processed with much shorter molding cycle times. In addition, thermoplastic materials do not require refrigeration and have unlimited shelf life to further simplify and streamline the overall manufacturing process.
Thermoplastic composites typically use glass, carbon, or aramid fibers as reinforcement for the thermoplastic polymer matrix:
These reinforcements can also provide various benefits based on their physical configuration. For example, carbon fibers can be produced in continuous and discontinuous strands, and even flakes, each of which creates different properties in the finished product and allows use of different manufacturing processes. This design versatility allows thermoplastic composite materials to be developed for a wide range of use conditions.
Thermoplastic composites have become a viable alternative to metal assemblies, die castings, and traditional thermoset composite materials in the aerospace/defense and automotive industries, and in consumer goods and electronics. For example, rising fuel costs have compelled the aerospace industry to increase the use of thermoplastic composites in the manufacture of lightweight metal replacement components that were not previously cost effective with traditional thermoset materials.
Features and benefits of high-performance thermoplastic composites:
Greene Tweed provides flexibility by offering certain thermoplastic composite products in both stock shapes (billets) and fully machined, finished parts.
Stock Shapes (Billets)
Greene Tweed manufactures thermoplastic composites stock shapes in a wide range of billet sizes. Benefits include:
Greene Tweed has design, analysis, development, and testing capabilities to work with customers to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for specific customer applications. For metal part replacement applications, our thermoplastic composites drastically reduce weight and complexity while providing similar or superior physical properties and chemical resistance. Contact Greene Tweed here to learn more.
Structural (Xycomp®) Composites
Abrasion-Resistant (AR®) Composites
Wear-Resistant (WR®) Composites